The Ambassadors assist the Chamber’s mission while gaining additional exposure for their individual companies. Serving as the Chamber’s goodwill arm, this group of recognized professionals interacts with fellow Chamber members to enhance the experience for all new and existing members. Ambassadors play a critical role in the orienting and engaging of new ADP members during their first year or membership, and also assist the membership team by providing leads and referrals.

Leadership Pinebelt

Since 1989, Leadership Pinebelt has trained emerging and existing leaders in Greater Hattiesburg and serves as a catalyst for increasing diversity among future leaders. Each class session focuses on enhancing leadership skills and garnering a better understanding of the roles of Healthcare, Cultural Arts, Economic Development, Military and Industry in Greater Hattiesburg.

Leadership Pinebelt comprises a network of leaders and community volunteers who are committed to shaping our community. Each class encompasses a very diverse group of professionals who have attained leadership positions in their fields and are likely to be tapped for greater community responsibility. Through Leadership Pinebelt, each class learns ways to make a positive contribution to the community, develop and practice their leadership skills, and gain a more comprehensive background on the contemporary issues concerning the region.



Program Format

Orientation/Alumni Reception

Leadership Pinebelt Orientation is an introduction the program, class participants, the Area Development Partnership, Leadership Pinebelt Steering Committee, and Alumni. The class participates in a series of ice-breakers designed to help the class effectively communicate with one another and learn more about the program. Following the Orientation, Leadership Pinebelt Alumni hosts a welcome reception for the class.

REACH Course

Realistic Experiences and Challenging Horizons (REACH) is the most comprehensive ropes course in the Southeast, designed with both real and imaginary ground-based obstacles that present physical, mental, and emotional challenges to individuals/teams. The course, which is the first of its kind to be used by a hospital in the state, is now used as a training tool for patients, businesses, and civic clubs.

Community Needs

An in depth overview of needs and opportunities within the region, this session features presentations from non-profit organizations and educational institutions that need assistance with expanding their reach.


The 2-day Retreat focuses on developing leadership skills in the areas of presentation, persuasion, creating visions and purpose, communications skills, self-empowerment and motivating others, conflict resolution and team building. This session features an individual personality assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses which ultimately enhances an individual’s ability to work effectively within a team.

Camp Shelby Tour

One of the region’s largest employers (2300), Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center is the largest reserve component training site in the state, covering 136,000 acres in Forrest and Perry Counties. Camp Shelby is the annual training location for National Guard and Reserve units located in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The class will visit and tour Camp Shelby to learn about the economic impact it has on the region.

Health Services Tour

Greater Hattiesburg is considered the Healthcare Hub of Southeast MS. with two major hospitals and the largest multi-specialty clinic in the state at arm’s length. The class will hear presentations from various healthcare providers, and the education programs that are linked to them to garner an understanding of how these organizations work together to create a talent pipeline, and employ almost 7,000 of the region’s residents.

Manufacturing Tour

This session features an overview of the ADP’s role in business recruitment and expansion in the region, as well as hands-on tours of local manufacturing facilities. Presenters include representatives from the ADP’s Economic Development Division, and Pearl River Community College’s workforce training program.


Hosted at William Carey University, the Education session will feature a panel discussion with University and K-12 administrators about current opportunities and challenges within the region. This discussion will also cover partnerships and alliances, as well as current and future programs.

History/Downtown Development

A walk-ride tour of downtown to showcase the rich history of the area, and plans for redevelopment. Local merchants, along with the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association, and the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission serve as historical references to the tour.

Government Symposium

This session features an in-depth overview of local, county state and federal government.

Leadership Roundtable

Roundtable discussion with CEO’s, and elected officials about the correlation between organizational and community leadership.


The Leadership Pinebelt Graduation is the culmination of the program where the class will reveal their completed community projects, and is honored for completing the program.

*The Leadership Pinebelt Class develops community projects each year with the sole purpose of enriching the region’s quality of life. Some of these projects are completed in one year while others are on-going. No matter the status, these community-based projects are developed to make the place we call home a great place to work, play and stay.

Chris Adams William Carey University
Chris Adams

Chris AdamsWilliam Carey University

Chris Adams is the Coordinator of Advancement Services at William Carey University. In his current role, he is responsible for soliciting significant gifts for all fundraising efforts and support William Carey University’s Department Leadership to advance WCU’s missions and efforts, with an emphasis for the Athletic Department.

Prior to accepting his current position, Chris was the General Manager of Ticket Sales at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Within the three and a half years while working at USM, Chris was promoted from Account Executive to General Manager. He was a part of several record setting milestones which included setting attendance records in football against Mississippi State, and in baseball against Ole Miss.

Chris Adams is a 2013 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. He is a current member of the William Carey Sports Hall of Fame Committee, D.M. Howie High School Baseball All-Star Committee, and the William Carey Homecoming Committee. A Pine Belt native and West Point Church member, Chris enjoys playing golf, travel, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Matt Ball Mississippi Power
Matt Ball

Matt BallMississippi Power

Matt Ball is the Engineering Supervisor for Mississippi Power in Hattiesburg. In this position, he is responsible for leading an engineering team as well as the distribution line crew supervisor to complete new business service installations, system improvement, reliability and maintenance projects as well as leading all storm restoration activities in Hattiesburg and surrounding local towns.

Prior to his current role, Matt worked in Mississippi Power’s Lighting Services group as the Engineering Supervisor. In this role, he led a sales team responsible for outdoor lighting sales strategies, product assessment and installations throughout Mississippi Power’s service territory. He also spent many years with Mississippi Power as a distribution engineer.

A native of Petal, MS, Ball holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering as well as a Master of Business Administration from William Carey University. He is an active member of Venture Church, Pine Belt Young Professionals and the Panther Partner program at the Petal School District. Matt is married to Samantha Ball of Laurel and they have one child, Preston.

Chase Barnes The First, A National Banking Association
Chase Barnes

Chase BarnesThe First, A National Banking Association

Chase Barnes is a Commercial Loan Officer for The First, A National Banking Association. As a commercial lender, he manages a loan portfolio and helps his customers with business decisions on expansion, strategy and growth. Chase has been an employee of the first since 2017.

Chase Barnes is a 2017 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Finance. He is currently enrolled at The University of Southern Mississippi to complete his master’s degree in Business Administration. He is an active board member of the Pinebelt Young Professionals. A native to Hattiesburg, he enjoys golf, tennis, hunting, and fishing.

Kelsey Barrett Hotel Indigo Hattiesburg
Kelsey Barrett

Kelsey BarrettHotel Indigo Hattiesburg

Kelsey Barrett is the Director of Sales for the Hotel Indigo in Hattiesburg. In her current role, she opened the first boutique hotel in Hattiesburg, and the first Hotel Indigo in the State of Mississippi. Kelsey works closely with the Greater Hattiesburg business community to provide an upscale boutique experience for their employees and clients, all while marketing the award-winning property and locally renowned restaurant, Brass Hat.

Prior to her position with Hotel Indigo, Kelsey served as the Membership Recruitment Coordinator with the Area Development Partnership (ADP). During her time with the ADP, she worked closely with the Hattiesburg business community to offer resources and programming to increase membership value, as well as recruiting local businesses to join to enhance their engagement and exposure.

Kelsey Barrett is a 2016 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management. She is an active alumni member for the MS Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi, and partners with Southern Pines Animal Shelter to establish the “Suite Pups” program at Hotel Indigo. In addition to her activities, Kelsey currently serves on the boards for Sales and Marketing Professionals of the Pinebelt (SMP) and USM’s Partners of the Arts. A lifetime resident of Hattiesburg, Kelsey enjoys traveling, shopping, and going to concerts.

Monica Bridges The Children's Center for Communication and Development
Meagan Duckworth Merit Health Wesley
Keri Falk Venture Oil & Gas, Inc.
Breanne Ponder Gaubert Forrest General Hospital
Cole Gressett Trustmark National Bank
Matthew McCullum BancorpSouth
Michael McPhail Community Bank
Shonice Montgomery Southern Miss Alumni Association
Akwete Muhammad Hattiesburg Area Habitat for Humanity
Ned Nelson Nelson Law, PLLC
Je'Vaughn Osgood Forrest County Planning Department
Dean Pace William Carey University
Anna Rush Rush Law Firm
Amanda Sanford Jones
Colby Sappington BXS Insurance, Inc.
Sarah Snow Cooperative Energy


Pine Belt Young Professionals

Pine Belt Young Professionals (PBYP) is a program of the Area Development Partnership dedicated to providing opportunities for young professionals to connect with each other and their community. Members of PBYP are between the ages of 21-45 and are currently living or working in Greater Hattiesburg. Membership in PBYP is $75 annually, and is separate from ADP membership.

For more information about Pine Belt Young Professionals, CLICK HERE.